|The amazing November sun we enjoyed this week in Montrondo. Here on one of our walks to Senra and back.|
|Eladio and Pippa at the Palacio de Bornos winery on the way to Montrondo on Monday|
We had to stop, as is something of a tradition, for a photo by "God's rock" (la peña de Dios) which is the half way mark between Montrondo and Murias, the nearest village.
|By "God's Rock" on our first walk when we arrived on Monday|
|Eladio on our walk on Sunday on the old path to Murias.|
We watched the news of course and I was very sorry to hear about the Argentinian submarine which had gone missing in the South Atlantic sea, off the coast of Patagonia. The last signal it emitted was on Wednesday 15th November. I remembered the Russian submarine called Kursk which went missing many years ago and the tragic end it had. I hoped that the "ARA San Juan" with a crew of 44 would have a better fate. Time was against the submarine as if it had lost its battery and was lying at the bottom of the sea and could not be found, the 43 men and one woman sailors on board would not last long. There is debate as to how long the oxygen reserves of the submarine can last; up to 7 days apparently. Help is being given by the navies of many countries to search for the San Juan, while the family members of the crew prayed and waited for news. What an awful situation and a horrible way to die. I wonder why submarines don't have a way for trapped people to get out in situations like this. They do apparently but only up to 100 metres below the sea and not 1000s of metres which was the case of the San Juan.
|The missing submarine|
|The multi cereal loaves of bread I made on Monday this week in Montrondo.|
|On our morning walk in the sunshine to Murias on the old path on Monday morning.|
|On our walk up the mountains on Monday afternoon.|
|Oli wearing her new coat on Monday in Madrid|
|I love greeting the grey donkey and brown pony on our walks to Murias and Senra.|
|Cows in the fields on our way to Senra|
|Coffee in Senra on Tuesday morning|
|Enjoying the sun on our walk back to Montrondo on Tuesday morning|
|Our choice of film for Tuesday afternoon|
|The loaves of bread I made on Wednesday|
|Some of Manolo's horses in a field in the village|
|A defiant Ratko Mladic during the trial|
|The film we chose to watch on Wednesday evening|
I worked all morning and my communications plan was ready by 12. It had been raining but just as we stepped outside to get ready for our walk the weather changed for the better and it was sunny throughout. More sun in November! We couldn't believe our luck. Once again we had a cup of coffee at Cumbres de Omaña in Senra and once again Belén and Guzmán were there and once again they treated us to our coffee.
|Coffee in the sun in November at Cumbres de Omaña in Senra on Thursday morning|
The other news that drew my attention was about the drought in Spain which has been reported to be the worst in many years. Apparently Spain is now the driest country in Europe. The sun in November in Montrondo and in most of the country, certainly contributed to this state of things.
There was no siesta for me on Friday afternoon as I had a conference call with Adamo. It was to be a video conference call using Google Hangouts, quite a neat application and easily downloaded on a PC. However, the band width of our internet here, plain wifi and not fiber, made for an impossible connection and we had to resort to a phone call.
|The new Netflix TV series that had us glued to the TV for hours on end.|
|The road to Villablino from Montrondo.|
|Coffee and pastries at the Selene cafetería in Villablino|
|Shopping at the Villablino Friday street market this week|
|Happy with my purchases from the Villablino market on Friday|
|The Mosque in Egypt which suffered a terrible attack on Friday|
Saturday morning was cold and wet. I was up at 6.15 and it rained most of the morning. We got a message just after breakfast from Eladio's sister to say that Tino, a man from the village, had died the day before, aged 67 of a heart attack and that his funeral would be held in the afternoon at 4.30 p.m. In Spain funerals take place the day after decease. We would be going of course.
While I lovingly prepared our lunch - cocido madrileño - a delicious Spanish winter dish made of chick peas, different sorts of meat and bones as well as vegetables, Eladio ventured outside in the drizzle to sew grass on the land behind our houses. Luckily, at midday, the rain stopped and we braved the weather to go on our walk to Senra and back. It would be the first time I wore my new blue coat which is beautifully warm. As we opened the gates, I saw one of the food lorries arrive. There are no shops either in Montrondo or in the surrounding villages but there are various food lorries that come during the week. Our neighbours Salo and Carmina came out with their wooden clogs (madreñas) which people always wear here when it is wet. I always find them very quaint so asked permission to take a photo for my blog to share with you.
|Food shopping in Montrondo - notice the footwear the ladies from the village are wearing to protect from the rain - "madreñas" (wooden clogs worn over slippers).|
|"Vacas serranas", the indigenous cows of this area.|
After coffee at Cumbres de Omaña, we walked home stopping at the old bakery in Murias de Paredes for me to buy local flour, especially the rye flour. While there I admired the sourdough (masa madre in Spanish) ready for the bread to be made on Monday, as well as the old weighing scales which Raquel, the baker, used to weigh my flour. I also took some pics and made this collage. The container and hook for the dough were simply enormous.
|The old bakery in Murias de Paredes|
|"Cocido madrileño" a delicious winter dish|
I also learned from the 3 p.m. news that Saturday was the International day for the elimination of violence against women. Many demonstrations were held around Spain that day. One in three women in Europe have experienced either physical and or sexual violence since the age of 15. Me too, as you will know from a recent blog post of mine. One in three girls in developing countries is married under the age of 18. And in supposedly developed Europe, 50 women die every week from male domestic violence. Think about that. Sexual and physical violence to women happens everywhere and all the time. Interested in the statistics, especially in Europe, I searched the web for surveys and studies. There is one from the EU published in 2014. It had many findings including these: "95% of all acts of violence taking place within the home are against women. One in three women has experienced physical and/or sexual violence since the age of 15. Every second woman has been confronted with one or more forms of sexual harassment. 75 % of women in top management positions have experienced sexual harassment at work". The link to the article in The Guardian on the study included a chart from 2012 which you can see below on the ranking in Europe of physical and sexual violence against women. You will be surprised to see which are the worst countries for this.
|Ranking of physical and sexual violence against women in Europe.|
The EU report on the subject recommends we all improve education, legislation and change social norms to eliminate gender-based violence. Will that ever happen? On the bright side the recent #metoo movement and one I adhere to, is at least drawing attention to the extent of it and has encouraged victims to speak out. I was one of them who did so recently.
Soon it was time to attend the funeral at the church in Montrondo. The hearse had arrived and there were lots of people, many who had come from both near and afar to pay their respects. There were so many people outside so I asked why the funeral hadn't started inside. Well, it had and apparently there were just as many people inside as out. That is very typical in Spain and is not frowned upon. The important thing is to be there, either outside or in, to pay your respects. We too gave our condolences to Ulpiano the older brother and his sister Tere. We also spoke to many of the villagers Eladio knew better than I, from his childhood of course. It was freezing cold and I was glad of my new thermal down feather coat. Unusually for a funeral in Montrondo, there would be no burial but rather incineration in nearby La Magdalena.
We came home to a beautifully warm house and to little Pippa anxiously waiting for us. She hates it when we leave her alone at home but I must say behaves perfectly and never barks.
Home at around 5 p.m. I had just enough time to make bread and I would use some of the flour from the Murias bakery. I mixed different flours; rye, wheat, spelt and wholemeal. The whole process takes about 3 hours; kneading, proving twice and then the baking. This time I made the loaves slightly thicker to get more crumb. While it was proving, I watched more of Series two of Victoria and love it. I don't want it to finish.
The bread was ready by 8 p.m. just in time to have with our dinner. This is what it looked like.
|The bread I made last night|
And today is Sunday, our last day here. It is -4ºc outside as I write early in the morning but it is dry. The rain has gone and the sun in November will be returning. We shall be leaving after lunch and I have quite a busy week ahead of me. Naturally, I shall be telling you all about it in next week's post.
Meanwhile, friends and readers, I wish you all a happy Sunday,
Cheers till next time,